Retired judge objects again to Blackrock build-to-rent scheme

Woodlands Park project plans to provide 38 units for older people and to support their ‘physical and emotional wellbeing’

A retired District Court judge has again hit out at a planned build-to-rent scheme for older people in Blackrock in south Dublin.

In his objection to revised plans for the scheme, Mr Patrick McMahon wondered “where are we going if this type of development is allowed in a quiet residential area?” Mr McMahon had also objected to the initial application for planning permission.

In response to concerns raised by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Bartra, led by developer Richard Barrett, submitted fresh plans for the five-storey, 38-unit project in Woodlands Park. The plan includes an outdoor hot tub.


With an address at Mount Merrion Avenue, Mr McMahon, in a joint submission with Anne McMahon, said that “the application is contradictory. It says ‘build-to-rent later living’ facility. What does this mean? Is it a nursing home or rental properties? The facilities they are proposing are certainly not for what they call later living – whatever that means.”

“The ‘later living’ people must be ‘early living’ people if they need 64 bicycle spaces,” the submission said.

Mr McMahon retired as a District Court judge in 2013 and was subsequently appointed by the government in 2014 to the role of confidential recipient for gardaí and gave evidence at the disclosures tribunal concerning his role. He served as a judge in district courts in the Dublin and Meath-Louth areas.

Michael Maguire, chief executive officer of cell engineering company Avectas, told the council that “as a long-term resident of Woodlands Park, this proposed development, including the significant further information, remains totally out of proportion and an insult to the amenity that I enjoy today”.

In the revised Bartra submission, planning consultant Kevin Hughes said: “At Woodlands Park, the proposed later living scheme has been designed to support the physical and emotional wellbeing of residents.”

Mr Hughes told the council the scheme would be operated by Vico Later Living “and the ethos of Vico Later Living is to empower older people to live their lives the way they want with the peace of mind they deserve”.

The council has asked the developers for further clarification.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times